East-West Electric, Inc

Christmas Lights 101

christmas lights

Christmas Lights 101

The best way to start feeling that holiday spirit is by installing Christmas lights, as well as displays, figures, and scenes. You can always install them yourself or hire a professional electrician to put them up and take them down when the holiday season is over. 

You can read about safety tips for the holiday season here.

Our expert electricians at East-West Electric have put together an easy guide for your holiday season.

Where To Install Your Christmas Lights

There are many spots where you can install Christmas lights in your home, including:

  • Windows
  • Doors
  • Eaves
  • Roofs
  • Bushes
  • Trees

To get some ideas on how you can decorate your home for the holidays, you can take a drive around your neighborhood and check out their holiday lighting. If a neighbor is outside, don’t hesitate to ask them questions. If you tell them you like their display, they will most likely be happy to tell you all about it. 

How To Install Christmas Lights

Christmas lights are generally on strings of around eight feet long. If your home has eaves made out of wood, you can install small hooks for the light strings. They can be so small you can’t really see them all year round. This will make it easy for you to put up your lights and take them down. 

In other places, you can use plastic clips, such as gutters and shingles.

A good idea is to plan and design a layout for your lighting installation. This can take some time, but it will be easier next year when you install them all over again.

Christmas Lights 101 

Important tip: turn on the lights to make sure they are working properly before hanging them.

Light strings can be together in order to form a long string. The power will flow through to the connection strings from the first string. Generally, for incandescent lights, you can connect up to three light strings in order to prevent internal fuses from blowing in the plug connected to power. 

It is important you follow the lights manufacturer’s instructions to learn how many strings of lights you can connect together. Only connect the ones that have the same amount of lights per string. Click here to see the best Christmas lights for this year.

LED Christmas Lights

Whenever it is time to buy your new Christmas lights, consider LED lights. They use less energy and are way brighter. Since they use less energy, you can connect more and more strings together as well as more strings per receptacle.

Christmas Lights Checklist

We have put together some items you are going to need when installing your Christmas lights:

  • Extension cords
  • Hooks or plastic clips
  • Tie wraps
  • Photocell adapter
  • Outdoor power strip 
  • Stake timer

Sources of Power for Christmas Lights

A good source for lights on trees and bushes as well as displays in the front yard are outdoor receptacles.  You can use a receptacle tester with a GFCI button to verify protection. Every circuit that supplies power to these sources has to have enough power to power displays and lights unless you are planning a massive display and lighting project.

Large Scale Scenes Display and Christmas Lights

If you are planning a large-scale display with a lot of figures, displays, and lights, the best you can do is hire an electrician to install more circuits in your home or a sub-panel near the front of your home.

Christmas Lights Troubleshooting

If your light strings are several years old and some bulbs are getting dim or burning out, it is time to replace them. Buying a new string of lights can prevent you a lot of headaches trying to fix the old ones. Sometimes, during or after the holidays you can find good deals.

Whenever none of the lights on your string light up, that means the fuses inside the plug may be bad. Sometimes some of the lights or none at all don’t work. This is because string lights are connected in series, which means, one bad light can cause the other ones to not work.

Bulb sockets in light strings usually have a built-in shunt that gives power to the lights if one fails. This makes it easier to locate the bad bulb and replace it. Sometimes the shunt is not working properly and can cause several bulbs to go out.

If you have miniature bulbs in your string lights, buy a LightKeeper Pro tester, this can do the following:

  • Bulb and fuse tester
  • Voltage detector
  • Bulb puller
  • Bulb socket repair tool

Contact Our Professional Electricians Today

If this kind of job is not your strong suit, don’t worry. East-West Electric is ready to install and/or troubleshoot any Christmas lights and holiday displays in your home. Don’t let the holidays become a headache, we can help! For more information, feel free to contact us at (727) 771-9403.